Best Mac VPN in 2024 – Top VPNs for Mac Devices Tested

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The best Mac VPN protects your internet connection, is fast and stable, does not record your online activities, and offers many server locations.

One such VPN is ExpressVPN. It stands out in many ways. Its fast connection speed, superior security protocol, numerous server locations, and impressive customer support address nearly all VPN needs a Mac user may have.

And if ExpressVPN isn’t ideal for you, we’ve highlighted several other best VPNs suitable for Mac users.

The Best Mac VPN Ranked

  1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Mac overall
  2. NordVPN – Highly secure VPN for Mac
  3. Surfshark – Best budget Mac VPN app
  4. PureVPN – Reliable Mac VPN for gaming and streaming
  5. Ivacy VPN – Good streaming Mac VPN

In-Depth Reviews of The Best VPNs for Mac

With so many Mac VPNs on the market, it might be difficult to find the best option for yourself. However, to help you make an informed decision, we tested over a dozen VPN providers based on their security, features, price, and compatibility with Mac laptops.

1. ExpressVPN – Overall the Best VPN for Mac

A logo of ExpressVPN

Best For Overall
Starting Price $6.67/month
Max Connections 8
Mac App available Yes
Server Network 3,000+ servers in 105+ countries
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days (annual)

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Mac users. The provider piles on premium features to deliver more than any other vendor.

With ExpressVPN, you get a high-end encryption shield, an auto-connect feature, and a rock-solid kill switch – all working to protect sensitive information. Even if your VPN drops, the kill switch will shut down your internet connection to ensure your private data isn’t exposed.

You also get the Lightway protocol, which makes ExpressVPN one of the fastest VPNs Mac users can leverage. Express VPN has a strict no-logs policy and uses RAM-only servers, meaning no user data is being stored.

While the Windows and Mac apps are almost similar, the Mac app lacks the split tunneling option. So, you won’t be able to exclude any apps or sites from a VPN connection. However, Mac users have features the Windows app lacks, like the Threat Manager, which blocks apps and websites on your Mac from monitoring your activity.

Starting at $6.67/month, ExpressVPN is one of the priciest Mac VPNs. You won’t get a free trial with this provider, either. However, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the software.

Read the full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Fast connection speeds
  • 3,000+ servers in 105+ countries
  • Impressive customer support
  • Impressive “No-DNS leak” technology
  • Easy-to-use Mac app for almost everything

Cons

  • Premium prices
ExpressVPN
9.2
Review

2. NordVPN – Fast and secure VPN for Mac

A logo of NordVPN

Best For Fast VPN connections
Starting Price $3.39/month
Max Connections 6
Mac App available Yes
Server Network 6,000+ servers in 60+ countries
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days

NordVPN is among the best VPNs for Mac users, and it’s for a good reason. The service stands out in the most integral areas, like privacy, speed, ease of use, and unblocking.

NordVPN offers a large fleet of over 6,000 physical servers across 60 countries.

You also get extra features like Onion over VPN and double hop. These two techniques add an extra layer of protection to your online activities to enhance your privacy and security.

Expect NordVPN features to work on downloaded and system apps like iMessage and FaceTime on Mac. You’ll have a menu bar that keeps the NordVPN icon even when you aren’t on the app, allowing you to connect to any server quickly.

While NordVPN might look like the perfect VPN for Mac, there are a few drawbacks. Like ExpressVPN, Mac users also miss out on the split tunneling feature. This means you won’t be able to route part of your traffic through the VPN while directly accessing the internet with the rest.

In terms of price, the cheapest plan retails for $3.39/month. Like most of its competitors, you won’t get a free trial from NordVPN. However, if the software doesn’t meet your expectations, you can use its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Dedicated Mac app
  • Over 6,000 servers worldwide
  • Blazing-fast NordLynx protocol
  • A user-friendly interface
  • Audited no-log policy

Cons

  • No split-tunneling for macOS
  • No free trial on macOS
NordVPN
9.2
Review

3. Surfshark – Cheapest Mac VPN Provider

A logo of Surfshark VPN

Best For Affordable VPN service
Starting Price $2.49/month
Max Connections Unlimited
Mac App available Yes
Server Network 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries
Money-Back Guarantee 31 days

Surfshark is a well-rounded and one of the cheapest VPN for Mac users concerned about privacy. The provider comes with impressive security features, ease of use, good performance, and, best of all, affordable prices.

Surfshark offers over 3,200 servers across 100+ countries and access to the Nexus network. The Nexus network lets you route your internet traffic through multiple servers instead of one. This makes it difficult for people prying on your online activities to monitor or trace you.

Surfshark values its users’ privacy by offering an independently audited no-log policy and RAM-only servers that do not store data. Moreover, it also includes strong AES-256 encryption and a fast WireGuard protocol for fast and secure connections.

One thing to note: you will get disconnected when switching servers, meaning your real IP might be visible. And while displaying your unmasked IP address isn’t technically a DNS leak, it can be just as dangerous if you’re trying to conceal your true IP address for whatever reason.

Surfshark prices start at $2.49/month for unlimited devices; however, you can also test it with a 7-day free trial available to macOS, Android, and iOS users. Additionally, a standard 30-day money-back guarantee is in place too.

Read the full Surfshark review.

Pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Unblocks nearly all major streaming platforms
  • Ad blocker and antivirus tool
  • MultiHop technology
  • No-log policy and RAM-only servers

Cons

  • Offers varying connection speeds between VPN servers
  • Based in the Netherlands (14 Eyes Alliance)
Surfshark
9.5
Review

4. PureVPN – Beginner-friendly Mac VPN for Gamers

A logo of PureVPN

Best For Gaming and Streaming
Starting Price $1.96/month
Max Connections 10
Mac App available Yes
Server Network 6,500+ servers in 88+ countries
Money-Back Guarantee 31 days

PureVPN comes with a large selection of protocols to choose from, making it a great option for Mac users looking for numerous protocols.

With PureVPN, you won’t have to be concerned about the privacy of your data. The provider says they don’t collect users’ log data, and the claim is certified by an independent auditor. Plus, the VPN service offers its users WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN, DNS, and IPv6 protocols. So its users can choose the safest and fastest option themselves.

While most of its competitors boast 10Gbps server connections, PureVPN servers connect at 20Gbps. This makes it excellent for streaming or video gaming on your Apple device.

Besides, PureVPN has excellent unblocking capabilities for geo-restricted content. You only have to choose a server in the desired country and check if the streaming service is available.

The biggest problem with this app is that the Mac app doesn’t have a kill switch on the dashboard. You have to navigate the Advanced Settings menu to find it.

You can get PureVPN starting at $1.96/month, significantly cheaper than ExpressVPN. However, you won’t get a free trial. Instead, the provider guarantees a 100% refund if the app doesn’t meet your needs within 31 days.

Read the full PureVPN review.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • Independently audited no-logs policy
  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Unblocks iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus
  • Free password manager

Cons

  • DNS leak with Mac’s OpenVPN connections
PureVPN
9.4
Review

5. Ivacy VPN – Good Mac VPN for Geo-Restriction Bypassing

A logo of Ivacy VPN

Best For Unblocking Geo-Restricted Content
Starting Price $1.00/month
Max Connections 10
Mac App available Yes
Server Network 6,500+ servers in 100+ countries
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days

Ivacy VPN is yet another reliable VPN service compatible with Mac devices. The service is great for accessing geo-restricted content.

Based in Singapore, Ivacy VPN isn’t legally required to keep your logs. In its terms and conditions, Ivacy VPN says that even if the government seizes its server, it won’t find any sensitive user data.

Furthermore, you get a kill switch, which prevents potential IP leaks by shutting down your internet connection if your VPN goes down. Unlike most Mac VPNs, you’ll get split tunneling to exclude select applications or websites from using the VPN tunnel.

Ivacy VPN has over 100 server locations, with 6,500+ servers available. This increases the chances of finding a server in your desired location.

If you’re after a VPN for streaming, Ivacy offers dedicated streaming servers that allow you to unblock the most popular streaming platforms, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more. However, connection speed may vary significantly and even cause some lag.

You can use Ivacy VPN for as little as $1.00/month. However, to secure the price, you will have to commit to a 5-year contract. Alternatively, you can opt for a paid 7-day trial or a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Ivacy VPN review.

Pros

  • A free limited version
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Well-priced for what you get
  • Dedicated servers for streaming
  • Accepts anonymous payment methods

Cons

  • No multi-hop connection
  • Lower connection speed
IvacyVPN
8.7
Review

Comparing the Best VPNs for Mac

Provider Best For Starting Price Max Connections Server Count Server Locations Mac App Available Money-Back Guarantee
ExpressVPN Overall $6.67/month 8 3,000+ 105+ Yes 30 days
NordVPN High online security $3.39/month 6 6,000+ 60+ Yes 30 days
Surfshark Affordable Mac VPN $2.49/month Unlimited 3,200+ 100+ Yes 30 days
PureVPN Gaming and Streaming on a Mac $1.96/month 10 6,500+ 88+ Yes 31 days
Ivacy VPN Unblocking Geo-Restricted Content $1.00/month 10 6,500+ 100+ Yes 30 days
Methodology

How We Review and Test VPN Services

20 VPNS TESTED

25 DATA POINTS MEASURED

300+ HOURS TESTING

500+ USER REVIEWS READ

To provide our readers with accurate and well informed recommendations, we tested 20 leading VPN services to find the best in the market. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Security Features: We made sure that the provider uses standard security features and a secure tunneling protocol.
  • Privacy Policies: We looked for VPNs that come with a no-logs policy, and verify the extend to which user privacy is upheld.
  • Speed: We run speed tests three times a day and draw an average of the result to see how much of the original broadband speed is retained.
  • Compatibility: We ensure the VPN provider offers multiple simultaneous connections and is compatible with the most popular operating systems.
  • Geo-unblocking: We test whether the VPN service can unlock different libraries (content available in different countries) on the most popular streaming platforms.
  • Customer Experience: When researching products and services, we read real user experiences and test out their customer support channels ourselves.
  • Price and Value for Money: We set out to recommend reasonably priced products that offer value for money.

How to Choose the Best Macbook VPN

Picking the right VPN provider for your Mac device can be challenging. The market has hundreds of VPN apps claiming to be the best for Mac users.

Based on our testing of VPNs over the years and extensive research, here are some factors to consider when choosing a VPN:

  • Privacy – The core factor when choosing a Mac VPN should be privacy. A VPN that can’t protect your online privacy enough isn’t worth it. At a minimum, your VPN should offer industry-standard AES-256 encryption, DNS leak protection, a zero-logs policy, a kill switch, and obfuscation. Other privacy features you should look for include third-party security audits, a multi-hop connection, Tor-over-VPN capabilities, a tracker, and ad blockers.
  • Connection Speed – Mac devices have reputable speeds. You’ll probably want a VPN that complements your machine’s excellent speeds. Your VPN speed will hugely dictate your online experience, such as gaming, streaming, downloading, general web browsing, and video conferencing. So opt for a fast speed solution.
  • Functionality and Compatibility – Apple devices are known for their clutter-free and simple interface. You’d want a similar experience with the VPN app you use. The best Mac VPN runs smoothly and has a clean and intuitive user interface that’s easy to navigate, even for new users.
  • Server Fleet – Consider a provider with a huge server catalog worldwide so you can readily connect wherever you are. The VPN should grant you access to geo-restricted content in different regions.
  • Price – The cost of VPNs varies depending on the provider and the package offered. If budget is a factor, compare the price and overall value of your MacOS VPN. Generally, expect to spend between $1 and $13 a month for a VPN subscription. However, nearly all VPNs offer a money-back guarantee that ranges from 7 to 45 days. Other Mac VPNs offer a 7-day trial that requires you to sign up through Apple’s app store. Before investing in one fully, you can test several VPNs with a money-back guarantee.

Why Do You Need a VPN on a Mac?

The thought that a Mac device would require a VPN was laughable for years. After all, viruses and other potential dangers that a VPN protects against are mainly targeted at Windows users.

In recent years, that has changed a lot. While Apple still produces devices with security in mind, hackers, third-party apps, and websites can still find loopholes in MacOS.

Your real IP address and browsing behavior on Mac are trackable by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). As powerful as your MacOS is, it’s ill-equipped to block the above threats. A VPN remains a qualified defense against data tracking, identity theft, malware invasion, and some form of hacking.

The VPN will:

  • Encrypt your network connection, making it challenging for third parties such as hackers, ISPs, and even the government to monitor your internet activities.
  • Secure your data transmission between your Mac and the internet.
  • Bypass geo-restrictions by allowing you to connect to servers in different locations worldwide.
  • Mask your IP address to offer a degree of anonymity online. This might be critical when you want to keep your online activities private from advertisers, websites, and even ISPs.
  • Prevent online tracking from websites that monitor your online behavior for advertising or analytic purposes.

Apple’s privacy measures alone cannot offer you all the above.

How to Use a VPN With MacOS?

In this guide, we’ll use ExpressVPN to show you how to use a VPN with MacOS. Proceed as follows:

  1. Sign up for Express VPN on any web browser on your Mac device.
  2. After subscribing, select “My Account” on ExpressVPN’s main site. Feed in your email and password to access the ExpressVPN dashboard.
  3. Select the “Download for Mac” button to get ExpressVPN on your Mac.
  4. Find the area where you’ve downloaded the app and double-click on the ExpressVPN installer. Hit the “Continue” button several times and start the installation by selecting “Install” at the bottom right of the screen.
  5. Once the installation is complete, find Express VPN in the “Application” folder.
  6. Select Sign in and copy and paste the Express VPN activation code you got when subscribing to a plan. Your Mac will ask you to allow your VPN to install a VPN configuration. Click “Allow” to complete the setup.
  7. ExpressVPN will appear on your home screen. Click the ON/OFF icon, and the VPN will connect to the nearest server.
  8. To disconnect the VPN, select the ON/OFF icon.
  9. To select a different server, click the three dots () on the bottom right of “Smart Location” and select a country or server name. Wait for your Express VPN screen to turn green, and you’ll be connected.

Can You Use a Free VPN on a Mac?

You can use a free VPN on your Mac if you need one for occasional light use or a short-term period. One of the best free VPNs for Mac is Proton VPN.

However, you should avoid free VPNs because they come with many limitations, such as:

  • Security and privacy risks: A free VPN might lack robust encryption, while some might log your data or engage in questionable privacy practices.
  • Data limitations: Most free Mac VPNs have data limitation caps like 2GB a month, which might limit your online experience.
  • Poor performance: Nearly all free VPNs have a speed cap that might impact your online activity, especially if you engage in activities that demand high bandwidth. Plus, free VPNs often have unreliable connection speeds because of too much internet traffic on the server.
  • Limited server location: Your ability to bypass geo-restrictions effectively might be limited.
  • Intrusive ads: Some providers adopt ad-supported models or sell your data. You could experience intrusive advertisements and compromised privacy.

So, instead, opt for a reputable paid VPN if you prioritize security, privacy, and reliability. You’ll get advanced security features, superior connection speed, better customer support, and a larger server network.

If you must use a free VPN for Mac, carefully review their privacy policies, terms and conditions, and user reviews to ensure it meets your specific needs and concerns.

FAQs

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Mary Kihoro
Cyber Security Expert
Mary Kihoro
Cyber Security Expert

Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity and blockchain writer at Techopedia. Her years of experience in the field help her craft concise and engaging content in diverse fields such as VPNs, Password Managers, cryptocurrencies, AI, and diverse web3 topics. Over the years, she’s inked catchy pieces for Bybit, VPN Mentor, Crypto Digest, Captain Altcoins, Brain Manager, and Strive Marketing among other prominent brands and websites.